Yahoo Donates Servers to Universities to Support Tech Diversity Mission

Yahoo Donates Servers to Universities to Support Tech Diversity Mission

Yahoo has donated 200 servers to Howard University and The University of Texas at El Paso as part of an effort to encourage diverse populations at the respective universities to pursue careers in computer science and technology.

While this is its first donation to The University of Texas at El Paso, Yahoo has partnered with Howard since 2013 when it donated 125 servers to create the Yahoo Data Center at Howard.

Sonya Smith, professor and chair, department of mechanical engineering at Howard, said: “We are grateful to Yahoo for our continued partnership, and know that the additional servers will help to advance our reputation in computational research and computer science education.”

Diversity in technology is certainly not a new issue, but it has reached a boiling point in the US. Earlier this year, the first White House Demo Day took place to showcase women and minority founders in technology. The event prompted some technology companies to make announcements around their efforts in hiring diverse workforces as women only comprise about one-third of the workforce. A recent study by USA Today found that top universities graduate black and Hispanic computer science and computer engineering students at twice the rate that they are hired at leading technology companies.

Offering resources and support to computer science programs is a good PR move for companies like Yahoo, and they are also future-proofing their hiring because as more students take up computer science there will be more talent for companies like Yahoo to choose from. In April, hosting company Linode donated 420 used servers to the New Jersey Institute of Technology as part of an ongoing program to support research and student career development.

Smith said that Yahoo’s initial server donation provided its Computer Learning and Design Center (CLDC) with ““increased computational capacity enabling us to better train students on high performance computing usage and management.” It also helped her and a team from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Stanford, and University of Arkansas secure an $18.5 million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center program.

Yahoo’s donation to Howard will be used to implement and manage a private cloud of computing resources within the College of Engineering, Architecture, and Computer Science to support research in machine learning and big data analytics. It will also be used to support an existing course in Machine Learning and a new Big Data Analytics course.

“From new course work in distributed and cloud computing, to new data-intensive research programs in distributed systems and cybersecurity, these universities will have the resources to enhance their programs and train a new generation of world-class computer science students. There is outstanding talent at both of these universities, and we hope to cultivate interest among those students to pursue careers at Yahoo!”


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